Clutter seems to be one of those things that gets out of hand if you don’t constantly keep on top of it. I hear people often complaining that they feel overwhelmed and just don’t know where to start to get their house and life under control. You can sometimes feel like you are on the TV show “Hoarders” when every where you turn, there is junk and clutter.
I know, I have been there. I hate clutter but I live in a house with other people who are natural hoarders. They feel sentimental about every object, even if it’s no longer usable and are fine living with trash and junk around them. It’s a constant battle and occasionally, I am just too tired to fight it. That’s when things can get out of hand here very quickly and I have to jump back in before things get too out of control.
I hope after reading this article, you will feel better about getting your house in order and will know where to start. First of all, realize, you will probably not get the house finished all in one sitting. It may take days or even weeks, depending on how much there is to do and how much time you have to devote to it.
Start with one room at a time and don’t move on to another room until the first room is finished. Doing one room at a time allows you to complete it so if you are interrupted or just get too tired to go on to the next room, at least you will have one room clean. That alone will give you a sense of accomplishment and give you the motivation to keep on your organizing and cleaning journey.
It’s best to start with the room that gets the most traffic or is closest to the front door. That way, if you have unexpected company, at least that room will be presentable.
Start at the door and work your way around the room, and go on to the middle of the room. Work on one drawer at a time, one cabinet at a time, and then go on to the next.
You will create 4 piles. You can use laundry baskets for those piles or cardboard boxes or trash bags.
The 4 piles are:
- Giveaway-to a charity or a friend or family member who cold use it
- Trash-I’d use a trash bag for this one. Put in anything that is obviously garbage or items that are broken or worn out and can no longer be used.
- Somewhere Else– you want to keep these items, but they belong in another room or need to be stored elsewhere, such as the attic, basement or garage.
- Keep-These are things that belong in the room you are working on.
If you have trouble deciding what to do with things and which pile they should go in, then ask yourself these questions:
- Is it broken, or worn out or is still usable? If it’s broken, then throw it away. If it’s usable then go on to the next question.
- If it’s still usable, do you still use it? If it has not been used in the past year, it’s time to give it away.
- If it is something that you only use once or twice a year, can it be stored elsewhere? Like the attic?
- If it’s something decorative, do you love it or is it just something else you have to dust? If you don’t love it, it’s time to give it away.
- If the decorative item is something given to you as a gift and you feel guilty giving it away, think of it this way. You are giving it more honor by giving it to someone who will appreciate it rather than with you who is just keeping it out of guilt.
After you have de-cluttered everything in the room, take care of your 4 piles. First put away anything that belongs in that room. Put the things that belong in other rooms away where they belong. Put the things that are to be given away in your car to be taken to the charity or friend. Throw away your trash.
Now it’s time to clean. Start at the top and work down. Use an extended duster, clean any cob webs on the ceiling or corners and dust your hanging fans. Wash windows and mirrors. Polish furniture. Dust baseboards and vacuum or mop your floors last.
After you finish this room, it’s time to take a break before going on to the next room. Get yourself a cold drink and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Now go on to the next room.
Remember, it may take quite awhile to do this the first time but after it’s done, all you have to do is maintain it. And I realize, that’s the harder part. Look for tomorrow’s post on how to keep your house clean and organized.